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Producers Spurred to Re-Think Feeding Programs

by 5m Editor
27 November 2008, at 11:11am

CANADA - Researchers with the Prairie Swine Centre are encouraging swine producers to take a second look at their feeding programs in order to find additional cost savings, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Feed is the single largest component of the cost of raising a pig to market weight, accounting for anywhere from 55 to 60 percent of the total cost of production.

Research scientist Dr. Denise Beaulieu says each change, for example looking at feeding budgets, looking at the energy concentration in the diets, looking at reducing the crude protein of the diet, may not appear significant but added up each incremental change can make a large difference.

Dr. Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre

Producers for the last at least 24 months have been looking at their feeding programs to reduce costs so certainly they have implemented many of the practices that we would recommended.

However there are still opportunities out there.

For example we've done studies a few years ago that looked at current prices and it would still save to look at the energy content of your diet.

It would typically not pay to feed high energy diets that may maximize performance.

Overall producers need to re-evaluate their objectives.

Maximizing performance, maximizing growth of the pig is probably no longer the most economic objective.

They need to look at some way of maximizing net income from their entire farm.

For example reducing phosphorus in the diet or the use of a phytase enzyme may lower feed costs only slightly.

But, if that producer is paying extra to have phosphorous output in the manure spread onto fields, the cost savings then can be significant so the effect on diet alone is not the only thing to look at.

They have to look at it in terms of the total farm, in terms of the total net income of that farm.


Dr. Beaulieu stresses each feeding program needs to be evaluated in terms of the individual producers objectives and total farm system.

She says just looking at cost of feed alone is no longer enough to measure the change.